Saturday, February 22, 2014

Alvino S.

As stated in my last post the residents of Cibola County are generally not eager to accept new ideas, even when they are healthy. Partly because of long standing diets the area has a large number of diabetics, especially amoung the Native American population. A few years ago Alvina S., who graduated from Grants High School in 2000, saw a need for offering healthier choices and decided to do something about it.

His quest for fitness began in high school where he played basketball and in his senior year lifted weights. He worked out with personal trainers and began asking them how they became fit. He was told that fitness is an individual jouirney. It was suggested that he educate himself by reading and trying new options.

Moving on to college in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Alvino checked out Herbalife and eventually became a customer. He liked the way the product worked and his interest led him to investigate becoming a distributor. On March 28, 2011 he opened Right Track Nutrition in Grants. The tiny building his business occupied was built in 2002 and briefly housed "Coffee and...", which offered coffee and bagels. It had sat empty for several years just waiting for the right entrepreneur. Its motif had been centered on train tracks, as they can be seen from the back windows of the building. Right Track Nutrition was a perfect name for a healthier choice.

Alvino has a Bachelor degree in hotel, Restaurant and Tourism as well as Associate degrees in Marketing and Business administration. He said, "I needed to make good use of ten years of my college education."

A business of his own was a positive step forward and his hometown was the best place to take that step. Alvina spent four months being mentored by Herbalife business owners before becoming an independent distributor himself. Along the way he noticed that females around his age were most likely to be interested in the concept of Herbalife. He commented, "guys are more interested in muscles than nutrition and I hope to change that attitude."

He also hoped to convince coaches and parents to encourage high school athletes to try the products. With the help of family and friends Alvina began to spread the word. He manned booths at community events to help educate and encourage the community to choose healthy lifestyles. He maintained a facebook page to keep followers up to date on walks, runs and other fitness activities he sponsored. He offered the message,"Get on the right track with a healthier today."

Working eleven hours in the store didn't leave Alvino much time for anything else, but he also peridically offered what he called "boot camp" for the community when time allowed. It consisted of about an hour to an hour and a half of rigorous exercise, using skills everyone learned as children, such as jumping jacks. Distributors are free to use their own imagination and knowledge to promote their business, which makes them their own boss.

Alvino represents the younger mindset that is slowly emerging in Cibola County. When asked what his parents thought about the risk he took to open his own business he replied, "At first they were hesitant, but now they are proud of me."

Unfortunately, Alvino's ideas and hard work did not last. On March 24, 2013 he offered the following statement to the community: "I would like to announce that Right Track Nutrition is closing its doors for good. I gave it my best shot, It just didn't work out around here. So I'm closed for good."

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Mixing old and new

Grants, NM is an old town partly made up of old buildings, old traditions and yes a lot of old people with old ideas that are not easily changed. Every now and then someone comes along with vision and "surprise", the result is a new way of looking at things.

During this last week an old bar/lounge sitting on a corner of the main street of town was completely demolished in about two days by a private demolition company. The only evidence of what was is the tall old fashioned sign- Roarin' 20's.

This building has been an eyesore for years and blocked the entrance to the current mortuary, which also has an interesting history. It used to be the post office. Imagine that!

A few years ago this building was sold to a private funeral director who wanted to offer people a more personal experience than a corporation could provide. After renovating the building he and his family opened Compassion Mortuary. Shortly after that the corporation owning the only other mortuary left town.

On the East end of Grants there once stood the 4 B's restaurant, which was part of a chain. The day came when that too was sold and literally taken down piece by piece. It was interesting to watch the daily progress. In its place today stands the newest of the motels on that end of town, the Holiday Inn Express.

There are two examples in Grants of the fact that it isn't always necessary to destroy something old in order to create something new. The first is an old church left vacant for several years. It was purchased by a couple of very hard working individuals who worked their tails off to restore the building. They turned it into a gallery with a little cafe. The cafe no longer exists, but the gallery is still giving the owner a place to exhibit his work.
Another restored building was the original Grants jail. The building has had other lives in its history. It was a bakery and for several years El Jardin, a Mexican restraunt. It sat vacant for some time until a person with new vision renovated it and it became Bella Vita, the only Itallian restraunt in the area.
The last building on my list of mixing old and new is one sitting on a hill above town, visable to all who happen to look up. It housed the police department for some time, but is on a city list to be demolished because it is crumbling. There is no hope for this building and I for one will be celebrating when it is replaced by something new.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Inspirational clouds

Along with beautiful sunsets Cibola County offers an inspirational array of cloud formations. These were viewed from my front porch.